Written by Doug Huhn
An assault rifle is a specific type of firearm that typically has the following characteristics:
Select-fire capability: One defining feature of an assault rifle is its ability to switch between firing modes, usually including semi-automatic (one round per trigger pull) and fully automatic (continuous fire while the trigger is held down) or burst fire (a predetermined number of rounds fired with each trigger pull). This capability allows for rapid and sustained fire.
Intermediate cartridge: Assault rifles generally use an intermediate caliber ammunition, which is smaller and less powerful than full-powered rifle cartridges but larger and more potent than pistol rounds. Common examples include the 5.56x45mm NATO and 7.62x39mm cartridges.
Detachable magazine: Assault rifles typically have detachable magazines that can hold multiple rounds of ammunition. These magazines can be quickly reloaded to sustain continuous fire.
Ergonomic features: Assault rifles often feature ergonomic designs, including pistol grips, adjustable stocks, and accessory rails, which enhance control, handling, and customization options.
Military origins: The term "assault rifle" originated with the development of firearms for military use, designed to provide soldiers with a compact, lightweight, and versatile weapon for engaging enemies at varying distances.
It's important to note that the term "assault rifle" is distinct from "assault weapon," which is a broader and more subjective term that can vary in its definition and usage depending on the context and jurisdiction.
Assault rifles are typically regulated and restricted for civilian ownership in many countries due to their fully automatic or burst fire capabilities. However, firearms that resemble assault rifles cosmetically but lack the select-fire capability are often available to civilians and are commonly referred to as "semi-automatic rifles" or "modern sporting rifles."
How do AR15's fit in?
The term "AR-15" and "rifle" refer to different aspects of firearms:
AR-15: The term "AR-15" originally referred to a specific model of firearm developed by the company Armalite in the 1950s. The AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle that has become widely popular and has been produced by various manufacturers. It is known for its modular design, typically chambered in .223 Remington or 5.56x45mm NATO, and often features a detachable magazine, customizable features, and accessory rails for attaching optics and other accessories. It is important to note that the "AR" in AR-15 does not stand for "assault rifle" but rather for "Armalite Rifle," the original manufacturer.
Rifle: The term "rifle" is a broader category that encompasses various types of shoulder-fired firearms. A rifle is generally a firearm with a rifled barrel, designed to fire a single projectile with each trigger pull. Rifles can have different actions, such as bolt-action, lever-action, pump-action, or semi-automatic. They can be chambered in different calibers and used for different purposes like hunting, sport shooting, or self-defense.
In summary, the AR-15 is a specific model of semi-automatic rifle known for its modular design and popularized by various manufacturers. "Rifle" is a more general term that encompasses a wide range of firearms with rifled barrels, including the AR-15 and many other types of firearms.
It's important to recognize that many civilian firearms with military-style features are legally available for purchase and ownership in various jurisdictions. The permissibility and regulations surrounding the possession and use of military-style firearms can differ significantly between countries, states, or regions.
Furthermore, it's worth noting that the distinction between military-style firearms and other guns can be subjective and subject to interpretation, varying based on individual perspectives, legal definitions, and cultural norms.
We must engage in bipartisan dialogue by fostering constructive conversations and collaboration among policymakers, advocacy groups, and community stakeholders from different backgrounds and perspectives. Seek common ground and work towards solutions that prioritize public safety while respecting individual rights.
Gun violence requires a sustained and coordinated effort across multiple sectors of society, including government, communities, and individuals. No single solution can completely eliminate gun violence, but by combining these approaches, we can make progress towards a safer society.